Breast milk: To each his own. From metabolomic study, evidence of personalized nutrition in preterm infants.Nutrition 2019; 62:158-161N
The composition of milk from mothers delivering prematurely differs from that of full-term mature milk and changes over time. The aim of this study is to test the hypothesis that changes in milk metabolomic profile from mothers delivering prematurely persist over time when compared with mothers delivering at term.
Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to analyze the metabolome pattern of human milk samples collected from 18 mothers. Twelve mothers collected 12 term milk samples (one for each mother) once between 4 and 7 d after delivery. Six mothers delivering prematurely (29-31 wk of gestational age) and collected three samples each, once a week after delivery until the third week after birth.
Principal component analysis identified two distinct metabolite groups, one represented by the 18 preterm milk samples and the other by term milk samples. Metabolite profiling identified that lactose and oligosaccharide levels were significantly more represented in preterm than in milk term samples.
The preterm milk metabolome pattern undergoes maturation during the first 3 wk after birth, but at the end of the third week it still does not resemble the term milk pattern. The specific changes in mothers' milk metabolomic profiles according to their offspring might reflect the different nutritional requirement of each preterm infant. This knowledge is crucial to move from standardized nutritional protocols to tailored, individualized nutrition in preterm infants.